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Magher ny Hoarn Keeill

Period: Early Medieval

NGR Easting: 242630

NGR Northing: 493100

Description: Medieval chapel and burial ground. The remains of a raised enclosure are contained within a sub-rectangular fenced boundary measuring 27 by 14m. This is thought to represent a cemetery which is likely to have once extended further; the field name appears to translate as the 'barley field', and the west and east sides of the enclosure appear to have been truncated by ploughing.

The burial ground is raised about 1m above the surrounding field. In the centre is a cist-like feature, which measures 1.0 m x 0.4 m x 0.6 m deep. It is considered too small to be either Bronze Age or a lintel grave. Several large stones are exposed, apparently by trenching, and two erect stones at the north end of the enclosure appear to mark an entrance. The chapel is now difficult to discern.

The site was investigated by the Manx Archaeological Survey (1915). The trenches would appear to be the result of their excavations. The Survey recorded the burial ground as pear-shaped, with its wider end to the south. At the extreme southern end two standing stones appeared to define a second entrance, much as that still visible to the north. Paving stones appeared to mark a short path leading 2m to the doorway of the chapel, located towards the west end of the south wall.

The chapel was found to be orientated almost east-west, and to have measured internally 4.6 by 2.1m. The walls survived only to the height of only two or three courses, and substantial portions had slipped out of place. Collapsed material obscured the outer faces of the walls. The altar did not survive, although its base could still be seen, measuring 1 by 0.6m.

The investigation showed that a pathway led south from the northern entrance of the enclosure as far as the chapel, and that an additional path appeared to cross at least half of the surviving width of the enclosure from east to west. The remainder of the enclosure was not tested for burials.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: Keeill

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0534.00


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